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Taking Small Steps For Green Tech Investment

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As a small business without the resources and expertise of the large corporates, it can at times feel like a real challenge to make changes that you feel will have a meaningful impact on our planet. Over the years we have developed a mindset of taking what small steps we can in the hope that alongside others, who are hopefully adopting a similar approach, our collective efforts start to make a big difference.

Some of the steps we have taken have involved investment, others have simply required the dedication and inclination to drive through change in our organisation. Providing that sustainability remains at the forefront of your decision making you will very quickly start to see the impact of your small changes adding up.

In this section we have shared with you a handful of things that you could do at home or in your business which will have a meaningful and positive impact for our natural world.

Green Tech Investment:

The green tech sector is booming right now across the UK and many other parts of the world, however if this is not your thing then the whole process can feel quite daunting. Below are a few simple ideas which we have deployed across our nurseries which have reduced our carbon footprint as a result.

  • Solar Panel Installation – Through the installation of solar panels you can self-generate a percentage of your energy demand on site. Although the lucrative tariffs (Feed in Tariff) to generate electricity are no longer available via suppliers, return on investment can be achieved in reasonable time frames whilst reducing the demand for electricity. generation from the central grid. Through the installation of solar panels at both of our sites we currently generate on average between 30 – 35% of our annual demand each year.
  • Renewable Electricity Supply – Switch to a renewable energy supplier. Although currently slightly more expensive than standard electricity supply generated by traditional fossil fuel generation the additional premium you pay offers peace of mind that the electricity you are consuming has a significantly lower impact on the environment. Jigsaw became carbon neutral from an electricity perspective in December 2020.
  • Energy Efficient Boiler Upgrades – If your building is currently running its hot water or heating on an old non-condensing boiler there can be very reasonable savings, both energy & monetary by upgrading to a modern condensing boiler which utilises the heat and your system more effectively.
  • L.E.D Light Upgrades – L.E.D lights are widely acknowledged as a far more efficient way of lighting your building. With the installation of L.E.D fittings or bulbs you can significantly reduce the amount of energy that you are using which not only results in lower costs but lower carbon impact on the environment also.
  • Electric Vehicle Charging Units & Electric Minibus – Both the UK government and the major car manufacturers have publicly declared their commitment to moving towards an electrified transport system driven by green energy. By purchasing an electric or hybrid vehicle you are supporting this transition and contributing heavily to the reduction of heavy fossil fuel emissions from traditional petrol or diesel powered engines. Jigsaw are currently awaiting delivery of a fully electric mini-bus which will be used to transport our children on educational visits. In readiness for this and in support of our move towards a carbon free transport system we have also installed electric charging points at our sites which will utilise the energy we are generating on site via our solar panel installation.

Plastic Free Status:

‘Surfers Against Sewage’, are a grassroots movement that have grown into one of the UK’s most active and successful environmental charities.

‘SAS’ have developed an educational programme aimed at eradicating the unnecessary use of single use plastic from the grounds of schools and day nurseries across the UK. The process involves identifying the areas in which singles use plastics are used within your organisation and exploring viable alternatives to eradicate them.

Examples of some of the changes we have made, which you may also be able to implement, have been detailed below.

  • Hygiene Processes – We moved from single use hygiene aprons (Used for nappy changing & mealtimes) to washable material aprons which was a reduction of around 95,000 single use aprons per year across both nurseries.
  • Food Supply Chain – We changed our fruit and vegetable supplier for a provider who had a more sustainable approach to food packing. The change resulted in a reduction of around 90% of single use plastic packaging related to our food order.
  • Educational Materials – We have removed all single use plastic art / teaching materials from our resource cupboards across both sites (Sequins / glitter etc).
  • Plastic Bag Reduction – When sending items home with pupils we ensure we do so in re-usable hessian bags provided by the nursery free of charge.
  • Food Preparation – Clingfilm has been fully removed from the nursery with sustainable alternatives replacing it.
  • Avoidance Mindset – When purchasing new materials & equipment for the nurseries we ensure we avoid plastic when a suitable alternative is available.

In addition to the changes implemented across the nurseries we also carry out regular ‘beach cleans’ with our holiday club and Pre School children.

To find out more information on how to reduce and eradicate single use plastics within your home or organisation please visit: https://www.sas.org.uk/

One Tree Planted Partnership:

One Tree Planted is a non-profit organisation with a focus on global reforestation. As an environmental charity they are dedicated to making it easier for individuals and businesses to give back to the environment by planting trees.

Setting up an account and becoming a partner could not be easier. There are no minimum donation requirements and no pressure. With each single tree donation costing as little as $1, One Tree Planted has proved to be a fantastic vehicle for us to support reforestation programmes in a manner that works for a small family business.

So far, we have planted over 1250 trees in regions including the Amazon Rainforest, a region of Uganda which is home to a declining population of chimpanzees linked to deforestation, Ethiopia supporting key economic projects and finally in Australia as the region looks to recover from one of the largest natural disasters in modern history.

Moving forward, for every new child that registers with the nurseries we have committed to planting 10 trees.

To find out more information about this please visit: https://onetreeplanted.org/

The Woodland Trust Green Tree Schools Award:

The Woodland Trust Green Tree Schools Award encourages outdoor learning and inspires pupils about trees, woods, and wildlife. Through the award schools and nurseries can take part in fun, practical projects while helping the environment and improving their grounds. The award scheme is free, and the Woodland Trust provide resources and support to guide you through the process.

We currently hold Gold status and have very recently submitted our evidence for the prestigious platinum award.

To find out more information please visit: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/support-us/act/your-school/green-tree-schools-award/

3rd World Hope Partnership:

For over 12 years now Jigsaw have been a main partner of the charity 3rd World Hope.

3rd World hope is a UK registered charity which focuses activity on supporting remote communities in Malawi by developing infrastructure and facilities which support stability and growth in these areas.

Through our partnership with 3rd World Hope we regularly send parcels to Malawi, encouraging our parents to upcycle toys and clothes that are still in good condition which they no longer use at home.

As an organisation maybe you could look to establish clothes or toy banks at varying points in the year which could be donated to a good cause either here in the UK or in the developing world.

As an individual you could also look to support a local charity by ensuring that your unused items are re-purposed rather than simply visiting the local tip.

For more information on the great work that is happening at 3rd World Hope please visit: http://3rdworldhope.org/

Jigsaw Forest School:

In 2017 Jigsaw became the first Day Nursery in the UK to gain Forest School accreditation with the Forest School Association. Forest School is a child-centred inspirational learning process that offers opportunities for holistic growth in a natural setting. Forest School is built upon 6 key principles with 1 of those principles being a lifelong relationship between the learner and the natural world.

Although not a specific requirement we have ensured that our Forest School is 100% sustainably sustained. Absolutely every single item in our Forest School has been upcycled in some shape or another, from old wooden bed frames that now serve as pirate ships to old pots and pans that are hugely popular in our mud kitchen. It also home to many of the tree’s that we have planted as part of our Woodland Trust Green Schools partnership.

A Forest School is a such a wonderful environment in which to educate young people in a sustainable, non-traditional manner and we would love to see this provision become more widely available across the country.

As an individual why not look to bring a little bit of the Forest School ethos to your back garden? With a little bit of upcycling and a good dose of creativity and imagination you can very quickly make quite an impact even in a small space. The internet is full of great ideas and resources are all around you, all you need is that spark to make it happen and your children will have access to hours of outdoor, natural fun.

If you are an educator working at a school or nursery that does not currently offer Forest School, maybe now is the time to approach your head teacher or manager with a view to being the catalyst to getting things moving.

For more information on the Forest School Association or to find a provider near you please visit: https://www.forestschoolassociation.org/

Jigsaw

Founded in 1999, Jigsaw is a small, family-owned Children’s Day Nursery group based in Chester, UK.

Caring for the environment and our natural world is a fundamental part of the Jigsaw ethos and key learning objective for the children we care for.

Our children are our future so not only do we have a responsibility to take mindful decisions which safeguard their future planet we also have a duty to teach and guide them to ensure we are shaping sustainable citizens who will lead the way in years to come.

Source: Earth Optimism Cambridge

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Editorials

The Green Jobs Advantage: How Climate-friendly Investments Are Better Job Creators

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This paper compares job creation per dollar from various types of green investments vs. unsustainable investments. It also explores how to promote good jobs that have fair wages, job security, opportunities for career growth, safe working conditions, and are accessible for all.

Source: World Resource Institute

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused millions of jobs to be lost globally and has exacerbated inequality. At the same time, addressing climate change is an urgent challenge. Too many governments have funneled money to unsustainable sectors as part of their COVID-19 recovery efforts even though this is not the best job creator and will exacerbate climate change.

This analysis of studies from around the world finds that green investments generally create more jobs per US$1 million than unsustainable investments. It compares near-term job creation effects from clean energy vs. fossil fuels, public transportation vs. roads, electric vehicles vs. internal combustion engine vehicles, and nature-based solutions vs. oil and gas production.

For example, on average:

  • Investing in solar PV creates 1.5 times as many jobs as fossil fuels per $1 million.
  • Building efficiency creates 2.8 times as many jobs as fossil fuels per $1 million.
  • Mass transit creates 1.4 times as many jobs as road construction per $1 million.
  • Ecosystem restoration creates 3.7 times as many jobs as oil & gas production per $1 million.

The paper also explores job quality in green sectors. In developing countries, green jobs can offer good wages when they are formal, but too many are informal and temporary, limiting access to work security, safety and social protections. In developed countries, new green jobs can provide avenues to the middle class, but may have wages and benefits that aren’t as high as those in traditional sectors where, in many cases, workers have been able to fight for job quality through decades of collective action.

Government investment should come with conditions that ensure fair wages and benefits, work security, safe working conditions, opportunities for training and advancement, the right to organize, and accessibility to all.

This paper is jointly published by WRI, the International Trade Union Confederation, and New Climate Economy.

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Editorials

“If there is gas collusion in Chile, then distribution should be done by a public company”: Sector workers

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Chile. “If there is gas collusion, then distribution should be done by a public company”: Sector workers

This post is also available in: Spanish

Patricio Tapia and Solange Bustos (Image by Andrés Figueroa Cornejo)

Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), as well as Natural Gas (NG) is imported to Chile mainly from Argentina and the United States through the sea. It arrives in the country at two regasification plants: the one in Quintero and the one in Mejillones, where it is processed and introduced into cylinders for domestic consumption. However, only three companies monopolise gas distribution, of which Metrogas, owned by Gasco S.A., has more than half of the market.

By Andrés Figueroa Cornejo

After recently issuing a study of high social impact, the Economic Prosecutor’s Office (FNE) detected serious irregularities in the gas distribution industry, among whose assertions is that the retail price of each cylinder of liquefied gas should be 15% lower than the current one, and the price of natural gas paid by Metrogas users should be 20% cheaper.

The National Economic Prosecutor, Ricardo Riesco, said, “This study confirms that the gas market is not sufficiently competitive and our recommendations seek to change this situation as soon as possible for the benefit of consumers, because we are convinced that prices can be significantly lower in the future if regulation is adjusted”.

The Preliminary Report of its sixth Market Study, where the FNE addressed the gas market in Chile in the period between 2010 and 2020, focused on the social groups that use liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas.

To develop the study, the FNE collected unpublished data on the gas market in the country and was advised by academics Juan Pablo Montero, from the Catholic University of Chile, and Eduardo Saavedra, from the Alberto Hurtado University, as well as Oxford University economist Christopher Decker.

The FNE calculated that, due to the concentration of the LPG market, private wholesale distributors of this energy increased their annual profits by up to 55% more than those obtained in 2014, which is equivalent to US$ 261 million “extra” annual profits.

On the other hand, the Prosecutor’s Office detected that an exception contained in the last reform to the Gas Services Law, in June 2017, allowed Metrogas, through Agesa, a company not subject to regulation, to increase the price of its NG distribution service to consumers.

This resulted, since February 2017, in an increase of up to 20% in the price of residential natural gas paid by Metrogas customers, equivalent to US$ 87 million per year.

The case of Gasco S.A.

The Gasco corporation, harshly treated by the National Economic Prosecutor’s Office along with Lipigas and Abastible, and company that takes the majority share of the business, said that the proposal of the entity, “could end up seriously damaging the quality of service and also the price of gas in the country”, without offering any explanation of how and why it shot up prices.

On the other hand, Patricio Tapia Gómez and Solange Bustos, leaders of the Sindicato Nacional Interempresa de Trabajadores del Gas, were the ones who led the 21-day strike of the Gasco LPG Workers’ Union, from 19 December 2017 to 8 January 2018. It was a historic strike because it was the first and only one so far in the more than 160 years of existence of the company.

The president of the company, then and now, is Matías Pérez Cruz, a staunch pinochetista, anti-unionist, fan of the neo-fascist presidential candidate José Antonio Kast, and who became infamous on 6 February 2019 when a video went viral showing him expelling three women in an arrogant and violent manner from what he called “his garden”, on the shores of Lake Ranco.

Now, the leaders pointed out that, “Unlike the state’s public health system, when a person stops paying the gas bill, the company immediately shuts off the supply. What happens then? When private gas corporations cut off the gas for non-payment, they simply cease to be “strategic companies”. In other words, they lose their status as an “essential company” that provides a “basic service of public utility”. Where the market rules, there are no more “strategic basic services”, because in the case of gas, it is a product that only those who have the means to buy it can buy. Its supply is not guaranteed as a social right. Moreover, if someone cannot buy gas from a private company “A”, they can buy it from company “B”, because in Chile there is supposed to be free competition”.

Patricio Tapia and Solange Bustos, who come from Gasco, explained that, “Gasco is divided into two companies: Gasco S.A., which corresponds to the administrative body, and Gasco GLP, which is the operational or production part. Chile lacks its own gas to supply the domestic market. The productive part is the workers who mix the raw materials coming from abroad via ships arriving at the Quintero plant, fill the cylinders with this mixture, and distribute the cylinders to customers in trucks and vehicles. The cost of the gas that arrives at the port in frozen form, Gasco S.A. buys at a price infinitely lower than the gas it then sells to other firms and to consumers in general”.

The union representatives, given the situation of the collusion of gas prices, which operates as a true monopoly, indicated that they are preparing a proposal at the national level, “where they seriously study and according to the criteria of basic services as social rights, the establishment of a public company in the area that transfers specialised workers who today work for private companies in terrible conditions, to this eventual public industry; and that representatives of users’ committees, who can be elected and revocable, supervise any possible irregularities that may arise, always under the principle of the common good”.

Likewise, the leaders expressed that the Gasco company is a scandalous part of the gas collusion, as made visible by the investigation carried out by the FNE, exposing the illegal and fraudulent ways it uses to obtain its multi-million profits at the expense of the social majorities and consumers, in the midst of an unprecedented economic, social and health crisis. Likewise, the company headed by Pérez Cruz has made a large part of its profits by exploiting workers and systematically destroying trade union organisation, they said.

Tapia and Bustos said that after their historic strike, and as an exemplary punishment, the company took away the most important benefits they had won, such as “the Gas Workers’ Welfare Corporation (Cobegas), which had two funds: a pension fund that granted former employees a pension complementary to the legal pension, and a Medical Service Fund that functioned as Medical Insurance, which was not conditioned by pre-existing conditions, was not deductible and to which retirees could belong until their death and their widows could continue with the insurance”. They added that, “today, members who are Gasco workers are obliged to join the company’s complementary insurance, which does have deductibles and age limits, and some of its coverage is lower, and retirees cannot belong to it. The president of Cobegas, Lorena Matamala, who is a leader of Gasco’s Union 3, personally called on workers to switch to the company’s health insurance in order to exterminate Cobegas’ insurance. Both insurances were financed by a contribution from the company and a contribution from the worker-member. For example, the company contributed 1.4% of the taxable remuneration to the health insurance. All of this ended.

“Gasco’s anti-union practices add up to a whole chapter of infamy against the interests of the workers”, the leaders declared.

Source: Pressenza
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Energy and Transportation

Greens leader slams Green infighting

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The former leader of the Green party in British Columbia has endorsed the federal Liberals’ plan for combatting climate change.

Andrew Weaver says the Liberal plan is “both bold and thoughtful” and is the only credible plan put forward by any federal party.

The endorsement is another blow for federal Green Leader Annamie Paul, who has struggled with internecine feuding and a lack of financial resources to run a national campaign.

Paul admitted earlier this week that the party will not field a full slate of 338 candidates across the country.

She’s not commenting directly on Weaver’s endorsement but insists the Liberal climate plan is “smoke and mirrors.”

Weaver posted his video endorsement of the Liberal climate plan on social media Thursday; it was eagerly circulated by Liberals, including Leader Justin Trudeau, who made much of the fact that Weaver is a climate scientist.

In the video, Weaver lauds the Liberal plan for including, among other measures, “a world-leading price on carbon pollution” and rapid zero-emissions vehicle deployment “which is even strong policy that one we developed here in B.C.”

“This is a plan that reflects the urgency and scale of the crisis,” he says.

“I’m extremely impressed at how ambitious the Liberal Party of Canada’s plan is and I’m confident that this is the right path for Canada.”

Trudeau retweeted Weaver’s video, saying it “means a lot” given all he’s accomplished as a climate scientist and former Green leader in B.C.

Before joining the B.C. legislature in 2013, Weaver was the Canada Research Chair in climate modelling and analysis at the University of Victoria and a lead author on several United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change scientific assessments. He didn’t run for re-election last year.

At a news conference Thursday in the Toronto Centre riding where she’s trying for the third time to win a seat for herself in the House of Commons, Paul said she hadn’t seen Weaver’s video and couldn’t comment on it.

But she argued that even if the Liberals were to implement every measure in their climate plan, Canada would not meet the Liberals’ original target to reduce carbon emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, much less their new, more ambitious target of 40 to 45 per cent.

“The fact of the matter is that you cannot continue to build new pipelines like TMX, support other pipeline projects like Coastal GasLink, greenlight project after project for new oil and gas exploration, continue to support fracking of gas in this country and continue to support the fossil fuel industry to the tune of billions of dollars and hope to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.

Paul muddled her message, however, misspeaking as she declared: “If you want a real plan the only option in this election for you is the Liberals.”

Weaver stressed in an interview that he’s not endorsing the Liberal party per se, he’s endorsing the Liberal climate plan which he called “first rate” and “absolutely exceptional.”

“I’ve always been focused on policy, not partisanship,” he said.

Weaver said he hopes Paul wins a seat and believes she’s “the best thing to happen” to the federal Green party. But he said he doesn’t believe her party grasps the seriousness of the climate crisis.

“The federal Greens do not have a climate plan, to be perfectly blunt,” Weaver said.

“If the federal Greens truly believe that climate change was the defining issue of our time then they wouldn’t be imploding over infighting over views of a Mideast crisis for which nobody really cares what the views of one or two MPs in a Canadian Parliament are,” he added.

In June, Fredericton Green MP Jenica Atwin crossed the floor to the Liberals after criticizing Paul’s stance on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. That triggered weeks of infighting and attempts by the party’s executive to put Paul’s leadership to a confidence vote by grassroots members.

Source: The Globe and Mail, Canada

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